Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Would you rather

Yesterday, on The Office, they played a game of "would you rather".

Here's one for you:

I went to a great seminar yesterday. The speaker discussed a lot of cutting edge, hot data, and he was extremely captivating. I'm pretty sure only nerds describe data as "hot".

One of the more interesting tidbits in his talk was about a relatively common gene mutation.

It's a single amino acid change that occurs in about 10% of Caucasians and in a slightly higher percentage of Asians.

This mutation causes a change in hippocampal functioning, resulting in a decrease in episodic memory functioning (basically, in remembering stories).

"Wow," one may think, "We need to fix that gene".

Here's the kicker, people with this mutation have lower rates of depression.

Sometimes "fixing" one thing "breaks" another thing.

Would you rather retain your ability to remember stories and events of your life or be depressed more often that "normals".

For more info about this:
Here--memory
Here--memory
Here--mechanism

9 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Blogger BrightStar said...

oh wow... that is a tough question. my emotional experience of the world is so important to the way I experience life that I'm tempted to say I'd rather be less depressed... but... I have to think about this. (I actually think I do have trouble remembering stories already, though.)

 
At 11:27 AM, Blogger trisha said...

I am depressed and I don't remember anything.

Damn.

But if I could choose one of those, I would choose to not be depressed. Being depressed sucks so much more than not remembering.

 
At 12:47 PM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

Hmm. I remember EVERYTHING. Mostly. Like, back to when I was less than 2 years old. This explains a lot, I'm sure.

 
At 1:19 PM, Blogger 21st Century Mom said...

I would much rather have to resort to re-reading everything I've ever heard or learned than to be depressed. Depression is no fun at all. Reading, however, is very enjoyable.

btw - why do we need to fix that gene? What is our collective obsession about having everything and everyone in the world adhere to the same model? Boring, boring, boring. Variety really is the spice of life.

 
At 4:32 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

21st--you're right, I'm not so sure that we should "fix" that gene. There's such a push to "fix" things through genetic engineering or drugs or therapy, that we sometimes neglect to see that things aren't that simple.

There are a lot of things that I think don't necessarily need to be fixed.

 
At 7:04 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

I would rather be depressed. I am entirely dependent upon my memory. In my profession, it is fairly adaptive to be at least somewhat depressed, and having a keen memory is a must. Ergo, I choose to not be lobotomized :)

 
At 7:13 PM, Blogger sue said...

Interesting. I can remember in detail each and everything that has ever happened to me, but I can't tell a joke properly to save my life... usually I can't remember them long enough to tell them, no matter how funny I find them, or how simple they are. I always manage to foul up the punch line. Now...why do you suppose THAT is?

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Sue, maybe you are too inherently funny to be constrained by the rules of the average man's jokes. When I don't do something well, I like to rationalize that it's because I'm above the task.

Remembering jokes is a different type of memory than that used when recalling stories or life's events(episodic memory). That's why you can have a deficit in one but not the other. There are so many types of memory--it's really quite amazing. Also, as we (women) age, we get worse in some types of memory but better in other types. So it's OK if you become "forgetful" because it means you are becoming better at other things:)

 
At 4:58 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

Our lab used to talk about topics or questions being "sexy," sexiness being one way into Science or Nature.

 

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